Farm and Homestead Resiliency Principles in Practice

“Ben Falk’s talk in Ithaca on March 4, 2013 at the Ithaca public library on permaculture approaches to homestead and farm resiliency.

The Resilient Farm and Homestead [Ben Falk’s new book]
An Innovative Permaculture and Whole Systems Design Approach

The Resilient Farm and Homestead is a manual for developing durable, beautiful, and highly functional human habitat systems fit to handle an age of rapid transition.

Ben Falk is a land designer and site developer whose permaculture-research farm has drawn national attention. The site is a terraced paradise on a hillside in Vermont that would otherwise be overlooked by conventional farmers as unworthy farmland. Falk’s wide array of fruit trees, rice paddies (relatively unheard of in the Northeast), ducks, nuts, and earth-inspired buildings is a hopeful image for the future of regenerative agriculture and modern homesteading.

The book covers nearly every strategy Falk and his team have been testing at the Whole Systems Research Farm over the past decade, as well as experiments from other sites Falk has designed through his off-farm consulting business. The book includes detailed information on earthworks; gravity-fed water systems; species composition; the site-design process; site management; fuelwood hedge production and processing; human health and nutrient-dense production strategies; rapid topsoil formation and remineralization; agroforestry/silvopasture/grazing; ecosystem services, especially regarding flood mitigation; fertility management; human labor and social-systems aspects; tools/equipment/appropriate technology; and much more, complete with gorgeous photography and detailed design drawings.”


Ben Falk, M.A.L.D, developed Whole Systems Design, LLC, as a land-based response to biological and cultural extinction and the increasing separation between people and elemental things. Life as a designer, builder, ecologist, tree-tender, and backcountry traveler continually informs Ben’s integrative approach to developing landscapes and buildings. His home landscape and the WSD studio site in Vermont’s Mad River Valley serve as a proving ground for the innovative land developments featured in the projects of Whole Systems Design. Ben has studied architecture and landscape architecture at the graduate level and holds master of arts in landscape design degree. He has taught design courses at the University of Vermont and Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum as well as on permaculture design, microclimate design, and design for climate change. He recently served on the board of directors at the Yestermorrow Design-Build School, where he also teaches from time to time.


300% Increase in Agricultural Income on 8.6 Million Acres

3 thoughts on “Farm and Homestead Resiliency Principles in Practice”

  1. It’s very uplifting to hear of earth regenerating success stories in our day and age where most things are in decline. Ben’s experience involved 2”-12” of depleted soil on bedrock – a seemingly hopeless situation. Using permaculture practices, the area was turned into the most productive part of the landscape at low cost in just a few years. The lesson is clear: the land can be reclaimed thanks to the amazing regenerative forces of nature if we do things correctly. That means areas like Haiti and Africa can be turned back into oases.

  2. More Excellence on Permaculture:

    Toby Hemenway – How Permaculture Can Save Humanity and the Earth, but Not Civilization

    Hemenway is a frequent teacher, consultant and lecturer on permaculture and ecological design throughout the U.S. and other countries. His writing has appeared in magazines such as Natural Home, Whole Earth Review and American Gardener. He is an adjunct professor in the School of Graduate Education at Portland State University, a Scholar-in-Residence at Pacific University, and a biologist consultant for the Biomimicry Guild.


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